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Inner Vision: Under the Influence

Inner Vision: Under the Influence

Writer Lisa B. Valentino celebrates her birthday, and uses the opportunity to talk astrology and chat about influence. Planetary position affects other living things in nature, so why not us?

Today is my birthday. Whooohoooooo. Birthday girl in tha house! So what better time to throw a little astrology into the mix? I’m not an expert by any means, so this isn’t a discussion about science. It’s a chat about influence. If you look at it from that perspective, there is plenty of validity to be had when it comes to reading from the stars. After all, planetary position affects other living things in nature – animals, oceans, the weather. Why not us? I figure if the planets move the tide and control our sunlight, so too do they affect our behavior.

So much for my scholarly view. What’s important here is to remember that just because we have certain characteristics or habits – determined by the stars or by human conditioning – we have the choice of whether or not we want to conform.

I’m a non-conformist by nature. I can’t help it. I’m an Aries. What exactly does that mean? Let me break it down. Aries is the first sign of the Zodiac; we’re natural born leaders, not followers. The sign is the Ram, who is often seen surveying her domain from atop a mountain. We are associated with Mars – the red planet, hard to inhabit; a namesake of the God of War. Warriors. But fear not, for – like all humans – my dominant nature is actually kind, gentle, loving, generous. I’ve got a penchant for polka dot dresses and lavender pens, and don’t care who knows it. The truly powerful one is the softer side of this Aries.

Or so I thought. But what would life be like if there weren’t lessons to challenge us just as we’ve turned another spiritual corner on our journey of self-discovery?

I was involved in a professional situation where my colleague just wasn’t cuttin’ it. She was falling behind on her work, and I was asked to help her. Simple enough, right? So I tell her I’m happy to help, and out jumps her competitiveness and insecurities. Instead of letting me help, she spends two hours chasing her tail so she can be right about the most inconsequential detail; she spends an hour trying to decipher a three-line email; and on top of it, then she pretty much relinquishes all responsibility and dumps the whole messy project in my lap – with attitude. Bitch.

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Ol’ Aries was about to pop her one and let her know who’s Queen of the mountain, but then I looked at her frenzied face again. I saw a tired, fragile creature who’s fighting to save her job. Someone unsure and panicked, trying to prove herself. Someone who truly does need help because she has no idea of the firecracker about to explode in her face.

And in the moment I had compassion, my need to pounce was diminished. I saw that I had the choice: I can be the warrior or I can be the healer. I could push her off the ledge or I could offer her my hand so she doesn’t fall off. I decided I would be the healer. And in that moment, when I saw that getting this project done was really about getting it done together – helping each other - I redirected my energy and watched hers shift as well. I’m not going to tell you our relationship has been perfect ever since – she still gets on my nerves and she’s still flipping me ‘tude. But it matters not.

No matter how enlightened we become, there will always be certain situations that trigger the dark and temporarily block out the light. We learn to navigate them by continued spiritual awareness of ourselves and others. We choose how we want to behave, and we choose what and who we allow to influence us. 

No matter how many times she rolls her eyes now, I will remain the warrior who chooses not to strike. I have sacrificed nothing and gained everything. I have given of myself and in return receive gifts untold. Now, what’s a better birthday present than that?

Looking forward,


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Lisa B. Valentino